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CNN host Chris Cuomo managed to land an interview with the Georgia man who videoed the February killing of Ahmaud Arbery, but people who watched it didn’t learn much about the man or his role in the incident.
That’s because the witness, William “Roddie” Bryan, was repeatedly shut down by his lawyer, Kevin Gough.
First of all, the manner in which the interview was done was bizarre in and of itself. As you can see in the clips below, Bryan and Gough appear in a split-screen with Cuomo in the center, but the two Georgia men are actually standing beside each other.
Further, from the initial question, Gough repeatedly interrupted and would not allow his client to say much at all. And, because of the odd nature of the way both men appeared on-screen, there were several awkward moments where Gough can be seen turning his head slightly to advise his client not to answer the question.
In the first question, Cuomo sought to establish that Bryan’s nickname — Roddie — was in the police report from the incident.
“Ok, hold on, Chris. You’ve been a prosecutor and you can imagine this prosecutor that’s been in this case 24 hours, going to start throwing stuff around her living room if you start doing her job for her. Okay?” Gough said as Cuomo’s eyebrows practically furrowed their way into his viewers’ living rooms. “Because as good as you are, she’d probably rather do it herself. You know what we can talk about without causing problems for anybody. And I know you’re trying. But this man cannot be answering substantive questions about the case.”
That led Cuomo to ask, “So, Mr. Bryan, how did you come to be in the car videotaping that day?”
Bryan hesitated, sitting quietly with pursed lips, eventually looking down as, off-screen, Gough was heard through Bryan’s mic saying, “Okay, we’re not going there.”
“You don’t want to talk about that either,” Cuomo moved on. “Alright. Let’s do this. You are afraid of the facts of this case, counselor, why?”
At that question, Gough pandered a bit to Cuomo while insulting the entire public school system in Glynn County, Georgia.
“With all due respect. I’m not afraid of you, I respect you,” Gough said. “You’re a brilliant, a very good prosecutor. And my client is a mechanic with a high school education and if you’ve ever been to the high schools around here, that’s not necessarily saying much. Okay? And I don’t mind if the board of education doesn’t like it. You know, I’m not their friend.”
There was continued back-and-forth, but eventually, the attorney all but told Cuomo what to ask his client. And yet, even after the host complied, Gough still broke in and interrupted.
“Mr. Bryan, what do you want the audience to know about your role, your feelings, and your sense of responsibility for this situation?” Cuomo asked.
“Is that a multiple question, Chris?”
“Mr. Gough, let him answer it,” Cuomo responded, clearly getting frustrated. “I’m sure he’ll do a good job. You can always answer — you can amend after. Mr. Bryan?
“I would just like to say, first of all, I am very sorry to the family. I pray for them every night as well as my own family.”
Following that short statement, the host asked Gough if he believes that his client is “part of the altercation” that led to the shooting death of Arbery.
“No, sir. No, sir. Not at all,” Gough began.
“My client has done nothing wrong here. He’s committed no crime, and this is a horrible tragedy. This young man has lost his life and you’ve seen the video. On a scale of one to ten, that’s just — it’s horrifying to watch. It’s painful to watch. Even for a former prosecutor like yourself,” he continued.
“I’m sure you’ve seen lots of grisly incidents. So this is a terrible matter, and some people are going to have to answer for what they did. But my client is not responsible for that. My client was unarmed. My client hasn’t shot anybody. My client hasn’t been in so much as a fistfight since she was in high school. You can take a look at him. He’s 5’6″, 5’7″. This is not a gentleman who’s out there looking for a fight.”
To follow up, Cuomo asked of Bryan had any relationship at all with Gregory and Travis McMichael, the two men accused of murdering Arbery.
“There’s no relationship whatsoever between Roddie and the McMichaels,” Gough insisted.
In all, the interview ran for about 20 minutes, which is an eternity in cable news, but Bryan only spoke for about 30 seconds.
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